The Canal Winchester Times

New teacher evaluations helpful but expensive

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Groveport Madison Local School District officials say the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System has been challenging to implement, but has proven effective.

The new evaluation standards must be fully implemented by all Ohio schools receiving Race-to-the-Top funding by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Three focus areas are included: standards for teachers, standards for administrators and standards for professional development.

Superintendent Bruce Hoover said the program has met its goal of improving quality in the classroom, but not without a large investment of time and money by the district.

"When the state rolled out the evaluation system to improve quality, I think it has done just that," Hoover said. "I ran some cost analysis and I think an unintended consequence is that they didn't understand the amount of time it takes, and I figured out we spent about $60,000 in training on the system and another $400,000 in completing the evaluations themselves."

District Director of Human Resources Dennis Harden has been responsible for leading the implementation of the new evaluation system.

From his perspective, Harden said, Groveport Madison teachers should be commended for their work adapting to the new process.

The process itself includes a pre-classroom evaluation meeting where an evaluation committee meets with the staff member for about 30 minutes to discuss classroom goals and issues. This is followed by a 15-minute, in-class observation, after which a post-observation evaluation is completed.

According to Harden, the process takes about three hours for each staff member.

"The one thing that impressed me the most is that there is a post-evaluation teacher reflection page, and the time they all spent on examining what things they can do, and how do these changes impact their students," Harden said. "It's an ongoing process for them. The teachers have so many things to prepare for already, they deserve to be commended."

Out of nearly 400 teachers evaluated so far, only one has had to be put on an improvement plan, he said.

Half of the final evaluation score is based on teacher performance standards and half on student growth measurements, according to Harden.

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